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Self-Projected Artifice: The 49th Chicago International Film Festival

It was almost like a movie. Amat Escalante’s harrowing and unapologetically bleak film "Heli"—which looks at the crooked law enforcement and low-totem pole players of Mexico’s drug cartel scene—came to a hopeless closing shot before dipping to white for the end credits.
  • By Nelson Carvajal
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  • October 30, 2013 9:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Alfonso Cuarón's Cinematic Canvas

People sometimes ask me whether I think “the kids today” are all right. Sure, I always respond, “the kids today” should be totally fine, because they had Pokémon—surely one of the strangest cartoons I’ve ever witnessed—and what’s more, they had Alfonso Cuarón's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and A.D. Jameson
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  • October 4, 2013 9:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

VIDEO AND TEXT: Nelson Carvajal and Amber Sparks on Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro, the man with endless creative ideas, who lives in a mansion he calls Bleak House—filled with monsters, aliens, and comics—seems perhaps more in touch with a pop-culture obsessed public hungry for good horror than any other director since Hitchcock.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Amber Sparks
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  • July 11, 2013 11:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Wong Kar-Wai's Lust for Life

Wong Kar-Wai, whose long-awaited The Grandmaster opens in August, is not about plot. Wong Kar-wai is about motion and emotion. As my friend Nelson Carvajal's new video suggests, he's about the moment within the moment, the eternal in the now. Beautiful neighbors pass in a stairwell and exchange lingering looks, or talk more softly than they need to so that they can be face-to-face. The camera (usually Chris Doyle's) doesn't merely record or represent: it scopes out, insinuates, measures and caresses. All is texture. Physical texture. Emotional texture. What it feels like. What it really is. What you dream it is. What you dream it was.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • April 25, 2013 2:09 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Between Fair Use and Infringement: The Perils of the Video Essay Form

During the last couple of years, as I developed my voice as an independent digital filmmaker, a majority of the content in my filmography grew under the direction of appropriation art, and in particular, the video essay form.
  • By Nelson Carvajal
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  • April 10, 2013 8:35 AM
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  • 12 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Pacino: Full Roar

I could not stop laughing as I watched Nelson Carvajal's "Al Pacino: Full Roar"—not just because it's the most entertaining collection of over-the-top moments since Harry Hanrahan's "Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit," but because Pacino is and always has been a theatrical actor, delightfully so.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • March 25, 2013 10:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Peter Andrews: The Soderbergh Vision

“My policy is to have my name on a movie only once,” says Steven Soderbergh, so quoted by video essayist Nelson Carvajal. “Having your name once increases the impact of that credit because I think every time you put your name up there, you’re actually diluting it.”
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • March 21, 2013 8:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Beautiful Nightmares: David Lynch's Collective Dream

David Lynch could be a wonderful stage director. Crazy to say, perhaps, but perhaps not.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Max Winter
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  • February 12, 2013 8:22 AM
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  • 4 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Gangster Culture in the Movies

"He used to be a big shot." That's how a gangster's girlfriend describes him as she cradles his corpse at the end of "The Roaring Twenties." But the line could be plugged into any gangster film that ends with a tough-talking, two-fisted, hot-tempered alpha male cooling his heels in prison, frying in an electric chair or bleeding out in an alley.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 9, 2013 12:38 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: ON THE Q.T., CHAPTER 4: KILL BILL: The Female Archetype vs. The Goddess

Withhold information, then release it. Set up expectations, then subvert them. Tease, then gratify. This is how you construct an epic. This is how Quentin Tarantino, block by block, builds up "Kill Bill."
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Andreas Stoehr
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  • January 4, 2013 8:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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